Oscar-winning actress Lupita Nyong’o opened up about the “sinister” actions she experienced with Harvey Weinstein, saying she “felt unsafe,” as he sexually harassed her.
Nyong’o wrote a first-hand account of her years-long experiences with Weinstein, who aggressively harassed her each time he encountered her.
“I had shelved my experience with Harvey far in the recesses of my mind, joining in the conspiracy of silence that has allowed this predator to prowl for so many years,” Nyong’o wrote in the New York Times. “I had felt very much alone when these things happened, and I had blamed myself for a lot of it, quite like many of the other women who have shared their stories.”
Stars from Angelina Jolie to Gwyneth Paltrow and Rose McGowan all came forward to reveal their assault experiences with the movie mogul, opening the flood gates for Hollywood women.
“But now that this is being discussed openly, I have not been able to avoid the memories resurfacing,” Nyong’o admitted. “I have felt sick in the pit of my stomach. I have felt such a flare of rage that the experience I recount below was not a unique incident with me, but rather part of a sinister pattern of behavior.”
Describing meeting him frequently early in her career and rebuffing his advances while trying to maintain a professional relationship with the most powerful man in Hollywood, she wrote that he invited her to view a film at his home in Westport in 2011. After watching the movie he pounced.
“Harvey led me into a bedroom — his bedroom — and announced that he wanted to give me a massage. I thought he was joking at first,” she wrote. “He was not. For the first time since I met him, I felt unsafe. I panicked a little and thought quickly to offer to give him one instead: It would allow me to be in control physically, to know exactly where his hands were at all times.”
“Part of our drama school curriculum at Yale included body work, using massage techniques on one another to understand the connection between body, mind and emotion, and so I felt I could rationalize giving him one and keep a semblance of professionalism in spite of the bizarre circumstance,” she wrote. “He agreed to this and lay on the bed. I began to massage his back to buy myself time to figure out how to extricate myself from this undesirable situation.
“Before long he said he wanted to take off his pants. I told him not to do that and informed him that it would make me extremely uncomfortable. He got up anyway to do so and I headed for the door, saying that I was not at all comfortable with that. ‘If we’re not going to watch the film, I really should head back to school,’ I said.”
Nyong’o wrote that she met Weinstein after that incident, where she again turned down his sexual advances, despite immense pressure.
‘Let’s cut to the chase,” she said he told her. “‘I have a private room upstairs where we can have the rest of our meal.’ I was stunned. I told him I preferred to eat in the restaurant. He told me not to be so naive. If I wanted to be an actress, then I had to be willing to do this sort of thing. He said he had dated Famous Actress X and Y and look where that had gotten them.”
But she stood her ground and said no, and revealed his reaction to his dismissal of his advances.
“’I just want to know that we are good,’” I said,” she wrote that she asked him. “’I don’t know about your career, but you’ll be fine,’ he said. It felt like both a threat and a reassurance at the same time; of what, I couldn’t be sure.”
More than 40 women came forward to accuse Weinstein of assault. He was fired from his company and sought treatment in Arizona.